Japan from the inside out

Red curtain

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, October 13, 2012

GREEN curtains are one traditional solution for keeping a cool house during sultry Japanese summers. People grow vines, often bearing vegetables, and suspend them from the eaves of traditional houses. It beats the heat and reduces the grocery bill at the same time. Here’s a previous post with a photo of a green curtain made from goya vines.

Every fall at a produce market in Nanao, Ichikawa, however, red curtains are the rage. Old folks from a nearby town hang bundles of hot peppers from a three-meter-long pole to tempt the eyes of shoppers and entice them into reaching for their wallets.

The jumbo peppers are called namba in the local dialect, and there are 40 to a rack. There’s also an old local belief that one of these red curtains will ward off evil. What the heck, it only costs JPY 450 to find out, and if evil slithers in through a gap in the namba, you can always console yourself by making a spicy curry and breathing on it. If you find yourself passing through Nanao, they’re on sale to the end of November.

Harakami Rei has a red curb instead.

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